key question

Grant Olson kgo at
Thu Feb 25 01:44:19 CET 2010

On 2/24/2010 5:14 PM, Tobias Holz wrote:
> Hey Folks,
> i succesfully installed gnupg on my Win7 machine. I want to use it
> with Thunderbird to encrypt personal eMails.
> Now I've got some questions:
> 1) What does happen if I lose my private key? Can I burn it to a CD/DVD?

You won't be able to read anything encrypted with that key.  You'll
still be able to verify signatures created with the key, if you can get
the public key from a keyserver or something.

If it's been stolen, someone else could possibly access your encrypted
info and/or impersonate you.  If possible, you'll want to revoke it with
a revocation certificate:

(That whole manual is pretty good.  You might want to read the whole thing.)

You can back it up properly by exporting the key and burning the file to
a cd.  "gpg --export-secret-key > key_backup_file"

You could also backup your whole keyring, including all the public keys,
trust levels, local signatures, etc.  That's under "Documents and
Settings\user\Application Data\gnupg" on windows XP.  Not sure if that's
the same on Windows 7.

> 2) Where can I find the key, I just got the passphrase?

See above.  The actual file is secring.gpg.

> I generated the Keys with OpenPGP-Plugin for Thunderbird. I got the
> public key (something_stands_here.asc) and encryption works fine :)

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